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Essay: SWAS Refugee Argumentative Essay

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  • SWAS Refugee Argumentative Essay
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Imagine that you grew up in a poor family in Sudan. It’s in 2012. You were coming back from a long, hard job, tired, starving, and you see your mother crying. You ask her why. She says that he died of hunger while he was working in a field. Next thing you know, you hear gunshots and screams. It’s the local militia. Your mother wipes her tears and you both run for your lives. It’s unbelievable, but it’s a harsh reality in these poor countries like Sudan. The refugees of East Africa are better off in the United States.

In America, they provide better nutrition and education than they do in South Sudan. The American government provides all the resources we need to succeed, but the Sudanese government can’t even provide ample nutrition for these refugees to actually function. Take Mawi, for example. If he had never left Sudan, he would’ve never ended up graduating from Harvard. He’d be working very hard in a field just to get a few dollars to help his family while he hasn’t eaten for days. It is a custom here in America to go to school. If you never go to school, you’ll never get the help you need to succeed. In the book Of Beetles and Angels, Mawi explained how they couldn’t afford to keep a pet in South Sudan when “our countrymen couldn’t even feed themselves.” From the article “What is a Famine?” – Al Jazeera is explaining the effects of famine and what countries famine is spreading in. – “South Sudan is currently experiencing famine – this could affect 20 million people.” Accompanied by the hardships of famine, the living conditions there are bad enough. It’s very hot in the summertime. A large family (6-7 people) would have to share a 2 room small adobe hut with no A/C, leaving them cramped, starving, and hot (Place). That’s not the worst part. These refugees have to use whatever they can to stay alive, including drinking dirty water from the lake, even the water people bathe in (HEI).

In America, it was easy for the refugees to make new friends and have new ties to the local American communities that gladly welcomed them into their neighborhood. Some of their American peers actually respected them and treated them like their own. I know you may be thinking, everybody knew each other back in Sudan, but the kids always fought each other and beat each other up. Sometimes, the adults got along well, but the kids didn’t like each other. It was a mixed community. In America, the parents and the kids got along very well and sometimes, there were bullies. But they could never do what the kids did in Sudan to each other. In the book Of Beetles and Angels, Mawi explains how he and Tewolde always had to fight back here in America, thinking the American kids would do worse than the Sudanese refugees, but it was only “taunting and small beatings.” (pg. 36) From the words of Haileab, “LET THEM HIT YOU. COME HOME BEATEN AND BRUISED. DO NOT FIGHT BACK.” Refugees were (initially) on the lower “ranks” in the community, so the element of culture would be social groups. Culturally, Sudan was very unique. Majority of Sudan spoke Arabic and Swahili. They would always celebrate traditions (that no one has heard of) like “Hoyo Hoyo.” (Cultural Region)

In Sudan, medicine is not widely available. People have to travel miles for just a little bit of pain relievers that may not even work. Many people died due to disease because they could not gain access to any medicine to help relieve them of their symptoms. On the contrary, in America, there are hundreds of thousands of pharmacies nationwide, so you could just walk over to the corner store and get some Advil. Medicine is very important, but in the rural parts of America, it’s a bit rarer so it can be more expensive. Luckily, Haileab, Mawi’s father, was a healer (doctor) in their refugee camp back in Sudan, so he could “heal people.” As stated in the book, “He was wealthy. He had his own pharmacy, his own general store, and he ran his own clinic. He was known by the entire area.” When Mawi and his family arrived in the U.S., Haileab got malaria. Beth, the nurse who helped get them a sponsor, immediately knew that and got him medicine in a number of hours. If they were in Sudan, Mawi and his siblings would have to walk to a pharmacy that’s far away since their father couldn’t run his pharmacy. “… Beth, a nurse, knew instantly that he had malaria……. she went to a physician friend to obtain the medication that my father needed.” The economy of these countries is funding the advancement of biotech, or the technology used to make medicine.

America is very safe for refugees. For example, in Sudan, they faced threats of war every day. Back in November of 2017, the Murle tribe attacked the Dinka village in South Sudan and killed 45 innocent people and injured 19 as part of an ongoing “inter-ethnic violence” that has been going on since 2013. In the “Lost Boy” article, there were 2 wars between a northern Muslim military regime and southern Christian and animist rebels. The 2nd war (1983-2005) destroyed Joseph (the lost boy)’s village, Wangulei (in Sudan’s Darfur region.) “His father was killed and his mother was wounded, and his siblings were scattered.” The Sudanese government was supposed to protect the civilians during the war, but failed to do so and resulted in all these deaths. Even in these refugee camps, there are rebellion groups just killing innocent civilians. In the documentary “Saving South Sudan,” you could hear gunshots in the background during an abrupt interview. To try to help the effort of winning and ending the war, more than nineteen-thousand children were forced to join the military after they had been engulfed in a civil war in 2013. Just last April, the United Nations has freed over 200 “child soldiers.”

Back in Sudan, these refugees have to work in the blistering sun for days without food or water just to earn a little money for their family. If they don’t do their work right, they face the threat of getting killed by their boss. They would starve for weeks just to get paid a little bit. Meanwhile, here in America, you would make a lot of money in a comfortable job with food and water. America is safer, cleaner, and more resourceful for these refugees.

Works Cited

Adebayo, Bukola. “More than 200 Child Soldiers Freed in South Sudan.” CNN, Cable News Network, 18 Apr. 2018,
Asgedom, Mawi, and Dave Berger. Of Beetles and Angels: a Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard. Little, Brown and Co., 2016.
Jazeera, Al. “Dying of Hunger: What Is a Famine?” Newsela, 2017.
“Lost Boy Found: a Young Man Whose Childhood Was Shattered by a Brutal Civil War in Africa Celebrates an Achievement in America.” The Free Library,…-a0153513842.
Mylan, Megan, and John Shenk. The Lost Boys of Sudan. PBS, 2004,
Pelton, Robert. Young and Rocco Castoro, directors. Saving South Sudan. Saving South Sudan, Vice Media, 2014,
Nations, United. “‘Horrific Killing of Innocent Civilians’ in South Sudan Condemned by UN Special Representative – South Sudan.” ReliefWeb, 29 Nov. 2017,

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